Posts Tagged ‘writing’


November 7, 2011 8 comments

I had a very interesting weekend. Not interesting as I went to an amusement park, won the lotto, or donated a kidney. Interesting as in I did something I haven’t done in in a while. I wrote my little (okay, mostly non existent) ass off.

You see I joined a writers guild a while back. They’re an amazing group of people called The Scriborium. Well, lo and behold they asked me if i wanted to partake in being part of a Christmas Horror Anthology called A Very Scary Christmas.  I was very excited! Immediately titles with the word SLAY used instead of Sleigh flashed through my head. I came up with a bajillion witty titles. I have this habit. Whenever I come up with a book title I google it to make sure I’m not being a piece of repeating crap. Google things like Slay Bells and Slay Ride. They’re all friggin taken. GRRRRRRRRR…

So then another title popped into my head. The Ghost of Christmas Last. 

Catchy isn’t it? I thought so. So that became the planned story.

Then something called life happened. I had three months to write the 10,ooo word novella. Shouldn’t be a problem right? Yeah. Uh huh. Suuuuuuuuure.

Throw in the weddings, birthdays, science fair projects for two kids. Spooky empire horror weekend, Spending time with my kids, working on other projects, editing, websites, marketing and WORK. I didn’t get it done and it fell to the back burner.

Then the Head of the Scriborium emailed me, “Hey, Jackass (she didn’t really call me that, but that’s what I felt like) Where’s your story?”

My response was, “Please, Ma’am, Can I have sum more time?”

“Have it to my by Saturday or I’ll boil you in your own Pudding!”

Okay, Saturday was three days away, I could do that! Right?

Wrong. Not as in I didn’t get it done. As in I didn’t have 3 days. Life happened again. So. I sat down to finally write my ten thousand words Friday evening. I stayed up and got a thousand words done. My eyes felt like I had rubbed them in the kitty litter box and I was misspelling more words than spelling. I went to bed.

Saturday morning came and I woke up, hopped on my laptop, and had the story COMPLETELY done by 7! My fingers flew across the keys of my laptop like a fat kid at a twinki. I was on FIRE! Know what else? It felt good. I love to write and I did. 10k. 😀

But my story doesn’t end there. Deceptions, book 2 of the Demonkin Series is done and due to come out VERY soon. I’ve been wanting to start on book 3 for a while know. Everybody’s been asking me, “Hey, how come you no nano this year?”

At first I thought they were speaking Swahili, but then I realized they meant nanowrimo, or National Novel Writing Month. Basically its a challenge to write a 50k novel in a month. Perfect time to get book 3 done right?

The problem was NANO started on the first and it was the evening of the fifth. I was already way behind, but that never stopped me before! To be on task, yesterday I should have been at 10,000 words. Ominously familiar isn’t it? Is it possible for a mere mortal to pen 20,000 words in one weekend? Could he do it? Could our here save not only the day but the fair haired maiden strapped to the railroad tracks with the northbound 72 bearing down on her like Oprah on a slice of Chocolate Death Cake?

YUP! 😀

I started nano and made it to the 10k mark last night, just as I lost consciousness and my head slammed down on my keyboard. I woke up this morning, plucked the “H” from my forehead (I need a new keyboard now) and went to work.

At a loss for words

August 14, 2011 23 comments

No, I don’t have writer’s block (or irritable vowel syndrome as I like to call it) and I doubt I ever will. You see I suffer from a highly overactive imagination as some of you well know. No that’s not the problem I’m dealing with. The problem I’m facing is the will to go on.

No, not with life. So you can put down the fingers and stop them from dialing 911. I’m not, was not, nor will I ever be tempted to take my own life. SO relax.

No the problem I’m facing is trying to become a successful author.

It’s not that I don’t have the time

It’s not that I don’t have the desire

It’s not that I don’t want to

It IS that I’ve hit that part of my career that I just don’t think I can do it. Have you ever noticed that the successful author stories always involve the word “LUCK”? It was pure luck that an agent finally read her manuscript. It was luck that a bigtime hollywood producer happened to pick up a copy of her book. It was pure luck that the big publisher she just signed a contract with found her manuscript in the slushpile. See, lately, my luck has been vershitten. Crap. Poor at best. Horrific even.

I wont go into details, but right now I even feel like my best friend has given up on me.*

Okay, a little clarification on the best friend statement above. THEY HAVEN’T given up on me. I’m a schmuck and wrote that without realizing the context. No, my best friend is my best friend. Their life is complicated just as mine is right now and I haven’t had them around as much as I WOULD like. I get cranky and stupid without them around. Carry on.

Let’s just say my life is complete shambles right now. I actually thought it was getting better for a while there… but we all know the old axioms about calms before storms, etc.

I really thought I had a shot at finding an agent this time for my latest book, My Soul to Keep. I wrote a kick ass ninja style query letter. It impressed one of my other friends so much he emailed me and helped me tone it down a little. So I did. I sent it off and still not one agent has requested full manuscripts. It had me down for a little bit, but I know how agents are (spawn of satan and all that). I figured I would give them til last Friday and then self publish it so I could retain my rights.

Then we come to the gist of this post. IS it WORTH my time to do it? Should I? I’ve even thought about sending it to my current publisher, but she’s so busy. Then I thought about sending it off to another small press…Again. Fail to see the purpose in doing so. I hate to whine and groan. But Damnit Jim, I’m a Doctor, not a writer. Okay I’m not a doctor either, but I stayed in  a Holiday Inn Express once…

Seriously. I do have a good career in fiberoptics. I’ll never be rich from it, but it pays the bills. Mostly. My question to the heavens right now is do I give up on the writing and concentrate on what I do know will keep my kids fed? A wise person once said, you can’t live if you don’t dream. What they forgot to tell me is that you can’t dream if you don’t live.

Stoopid bastards.


August 7, 2011 1 comment

Want to know a little secret?


Do you?

I’ll tell you.

But you have to promise not to tell the whole world.




I do I do. Can’t seem to get enough of it. Editing sucks big donkey balls, but writing stories that come into my head….

Yeah, That’s where it’s at.

See, I’ve been going through a whole mess of shit lately, and I completely forgot that. That I love to write. I’ve been dreading sitting down at the computer and letting the stories flow because I’ve had the attention span of a 9 year old in toys r us. Every time I sat down to write…


Can you say netflix, facebook, twitter, novelrank, amazon, ebay, and wordpress?

I have dubbed these my “dirty” words. In an effort to get whole oodles of shit done and actually enjoy myself while doing it, I’m going on a writing spree. So If you don’t see me lots on Netbooktwitrankamabaypress, You know where I am.

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

July 16, 2010 13 comments

My blog today is going to be a little different than my usual posts.  Today I have the honor of interviewing the amazing Karen Syed, President of Echelon Press.  Why is she amazing you ask?  Well I think the answer to that question will become quite clear after you read my interview.  Before we delve into the interview, I’d like to tell you why I think Karen, her company, and the work she is doing earned the title amazing.  Imagine being an author (if you’re not one already), and imagine writing a book.  You have this wonderful creation in your hands.  I can only liken it to a child, if you haven’t written one.  You have this amazing thing, and you want the best for it, you want it to succeed in life, you want people to like it, and I’ll stop there hoping you get the idea.

The question that is left is, what do you do to get all the things you wanted for your book?  Everybody recommends finding an agent.  Easier said than done.  Everything about trying to get your book published was difficult, or so I thought.  Then I was introduced to Echelon Press and Karen Syed.  With that being said, take everything you know about book publishers, walk over to the closest window, and chuck it.  Karen’s company is rewriting what it means to be a publishing company.  The largest of the houses fear what is coming in the changing market of books with the dawning of eBooks and eStores.  Echelon Press is not only embracing this future, but paving the way.

The Interview

How much does an author’s personality figure into you working with them?

For me, personality is a huge aspect. I have made a point to try and personally know every author I bring into Echelon Press. It’s crucial for an author to have the personality and ability to connect with people in any situation. Often at events there will be people who want to criticize or talk down to an author whose work they don’t see as “worthy.” On the other side of the coin, there will be those people who are so smitten with them that they will want to hang on their every word and monopolize their time. Authors often need to be diplomats.

I often hear authors say how shy they are, and this drives me insane. Okay, you’re shy, so in the world go into a career that puts you in front of people all the time? Hel-lo!

How strongly do you follow what is trending? Do you only publish what is hot now?

Oh rubbish! I am not a fan of trends. Think about it, a trend is a pattern that has already happened. Why would you put all your eggs in that basket? What’s hot now may be lukewarm tomorrow and who’s to say what is hot. We all have opinions and they are almost always different, so who decides what is hot or not? Millions of readers think James Patterson is hot (as an author, not a man) but I have not been able to finish a single one of his books. I just don’t like them. Not to say he isn’t a wonderful man, I’m sure he is. I just don’t like his writing.

Same with Janet Evonavich. Readers lover her books, I hate them. No offense to her, just my personal taste. I think that the publishing industry needs to focus more on originality and less on rewriting the same stories.

Is it more difficult to be an author trying to get published, or being a publisher working with first-time authors?

They are so different. On one hand, being an author trying to get published is like trying to get your first job. You have no experience, and you have to get a job to get experience, but you can’t get a job because you have no experience.

On the other hand, being a publisher working with a first-time author is horrible. They are insecure, they are arrogant, and they are overly enthusiastic about finding the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Most of them think that they will write that first book, it will sell tens of thousands of copies, and they will make hundreds of thousands of dollars. It is almost impossible to fight this battle with them as the myth just keeps getting told and we all want to believe it.

I’m sure you have found the internet to be an invaluable marketing tool; can you think of any disadvantages to it that can be detrimental to book marketing?

Oh yeah! No one seems to understand that in almost all instances what you put up on the Internet is going to be there for as long as the Internet exists. What you post on your Blog on a really bad day will still be there years later when you least want it to be. I am a blogger and I have bad days. I post all kinds of crap, but I try to make certain that it won’t hurt me or anyone else now or later.

When a writer sets out to be an author (I believe a writer writes, an author gets published) they must make a commitment to behave in the most professional manner possible. Getting published means you are putting yourself out there for all the world to see. The other thing that tends to make the Internet dangerous is the frequency of myths and misinformation. Anyone can say anything whether it’s true or not and that is always an uphill battle.

What is your favorite reward, job, or even part of being a publisher?

My favorite part of being a publisher is finding the talent. I love the feeling inside me when I read a manuscript that moves me. I love being able to hear the pride in an author’s voice when they hold that first book in their hands.

How do you feel about literary agents?  Do you think the benefits of having one outweigh the costs?  Do you recommend authors having one?

Okay, I will infuriate agents everywhere with this answer, but I’m not a big fan. An agent gets a portion of an author’s income for doing something that an author can well do for themselves. Okay, perhaps after an author has had a few things published and they have learned the business end of things, an agent can help them. But when an author sets all their hope on getting an agent to get published, they miss out on valuable education in the industry.

I’ve also had some very bad experiences with agents. I’ve gotten submissions that were simply horrible. I’ve gotten query letters from agents riddled with mistakes. There’s one agency that has sent me dozens of submissions, despite the fact not a single one of them has adhered to our submission guidelines. I’ve told them we are not interested and yet they continue to send submissions.

I don’t think an author should be too willing to give away money they haven’t made yet. So my advice is, get your feet wet in the business before you drop your fate into the hands of someone who isn’t as committed to your success as you.

As a publisher, what would you rather have submitted to you, a poorly written novel with a great story line, or an extremely well written novel with plot holes or a weak plot?  Which is easier to fix?

I would definitely prefer a  great story that is well-written, but if you make me choose, then I would pick a great story that needed extensive edits. Anyone can learn to edit, but storytelling is a gift.

How ironclad are contracts?  Have you, or an author, ever tried to renegotiate before or after a book has been released?

Our contracts are pretty standard and they are what they are. I won’t normally renegotiate a contract and I can’t honestly think of a reason to do it. Unless of course an author gets Oprah or Ellen to bring them on the show, then I might add an extra percent to their royalties.

Karen and some of her wonderful authors at the Printers Row Festival in Chicago

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